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Posted at: Jun 14, 2019, 8:19 AM; last updated: Jun 14, 2019, 8:19 AM (IST)

Amid depleting water table, 17 more tubewells to be sunk

Water crisis a routine affair; canal water supply distance dream
Amid depleting water table, 17 more tubewells to be sunk
Several tubewells in the city have gone dry due to water table depletion. Photo: Sunil Kumar

Charanjit Singh Teja

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 13

As usual, the city has been facing crisis of potable water supply. Irregular supply and low water pressure has become a routine affair in summers when the demand of potable water rises and the MC is unable to provide sufficient water to all the localities. Several pumps are lying defunct. Most of these pumps were installed a a few years ago.

Now, the MC is going to sink 17 new tubewells under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT). Earlier, several tubewells were repaired or reinstalled.

Mayor and MC officials have clarity that installation of new tubewells is not a permanent solution to meet the demand of water. They don’t have any suitable substitute, so they keep installing tubewells. Regular groundwater depletion has added to the woes as old tubewells are unable to pump water out of the ground. Canal-based water supply is the only solution, but its implementation seems a distant dream.

Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had announced a World Bank-aided project to provide canal-based drinking water supply in the city in August 2017. According to the government’s plan, surface water scheme will replace the existing groundwater supply, thus addressing the serious concern of the region which is facing groundwater depletion and cases of vector-borne diseases.

Experts have also advocated the usage of Upper Bari Doab Canal (UBDC), generally known as Sultanwind Canal or Beas river, to replace usage of groundwater.

Mayor Karamjit Singh Rintu said, “Meetings with a team of World Bank have been going on. They have proposed estimate cost around Rs 1,300 crore. The team has visited the sites and we are hopeful that the government will implement it soon. The canal-based water system is permanent solution, but we have to install tubewells till the implementation of project.”

As per the previous estimates, it requires Rs 600 crore for extracting water from canal and its treatment. Earlier, former CM Parksah Singh Badal had proposed the same plan during his tenure. The then MC house had sent a detailed report on the project to World Bank and the state government, but the government dropped the plan.

According to information, the World Bank team did not find canal water suitable for drinking due to dumping of garbage and other material in the canal.

Hardeep Singh, a city resident, said, “Since the announcement, there has been no development on implementation of the canal-based water supply. Instead of wasting money on installation of tubewells, the state government should make efforts in the right direction.”

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